Month: June 2016

Fulfill me completely

The grief journey has been more difficult and different than I could have ever anticipated.  Something I realized early on was that this journey is one I must walk alone.  Although it is one I must walk alone, it doesn’t have to be lonely.  Loneliness is often the “woe is me” feeling.  That’s not how I feel.  Not at all.  It’s just the reality that nobody can come on this journey with me.

Although Tim is my primary support and he is amazing!  We have had the same experience, which has helped us love and support each other.  But the truth is he can’t come on this journey with me.  My counselor explained it so well to me the other day.  It’s as though we were both in a car accident together.  We had the same experience but different injuries.  And if we are both injured, it’s hard to help the other person.  If we were in an actual car accident and his arms were broke and my legs were broke, we wouldn’t be able to help each other very well.  Similarly, we can’t help each other very well in grief… not entirely at least.

My friends have been fantastic during the hardest season of my life.  They have loved and cared for me well.  They have mourned and grieved deeply, some still spending a portion of the day in bed missing Enoch’s very presence.  But again, there are moments and days they are engaging in the real world, and I am in my room crying.  This doesn’t offend me or hurt my feelings.  It’s just reality.  This is a journey they can’t join me on.

Through this whole grief season God has continued to show me that even though this is one I must walk alone, He is with me.  And because of this, a couple months ago, I decided to go away for 48 hours to be alone with God.  No calls.  No texts.  No social media.  No communication with the outside world.  Just God and I for 48 hours straight.

One of my main goals in going away was intimacy with God, allowing God to fulfill every need.  I thought if I could genuinely let God fulfill all my needs and all my brokenness then it would free all expectations from any other relationship.

I left.  I stayed disconnected.  It was amazing and powerful in ways I had never anticipated.

When it came to God filling my needs, I don’t know if I thought it would just magically happen or what.  But it was harder than I hoped.  This is what I wrote in my journal.

My 48 hours is down to the last 12
The book I’m reading talks about a dead baby…

I fall apart
The searing pain takes over my body
I cry harder than I have in a while

The desires come…

For comfort
For food
For Tim to call
For Alicia to walk in the door
For someone… anyone to hug me

And then I realize…

I have to come to you (God) to fill me
I tell you I’m sad & miss Enoch
We look at pictures of him

I made it through that wave of searing pain.  As much as my initial reaction was to go to other people and other things that give me comfort, I needed to go to God.  If my hope was to have him fulfill my need and be my strength in the grief, then I had to actually let Him.

And He did!
I don’t know why that surprises me every time.

Father’s Day

Father’s day has been a little rough for a few years.  We knew we couldn’t have kids and so the day has always a little tricky.  We navigated it alright… typically avoiding church, having one small conversation about the day being hard and moving on.

Last year was different.  We celebrated!  I was pregnant!  I was past the danger zone, or so we thought, and I celebrated the anticipation of Tim becoming a father.  I went out and bought him the smallest fishing pole I could find.  I knew weather it was a boy or a girl Tim would teach our kid to fish.  Even though I think it’s the most boring sport on the planet, which I’m fairly certain I told him when I gave it to him 🙂  He was excited, for the pole but more so the anticipation of teaching our kid to fish.

Now Father’s day has come around again. I couldn’t tell you where that fishing pole is now. In some ways I’m glad I don’t know.  What do you do with such things?  Do we keep it?  Do we get rid of it?  Where do we even put it?  I have a whole room with so many things begging those same questions.   No options seems like the right one.

And now for this year.  I don’t know what to do.  There’s a random father’s day mug floating around our office.  A wife had a mug made for her husband with pictures all over it of him and his kid.  It’s a reminder that Father’s Day is coming and a reminder that I can’t make one of those.  In fact, I’ll never be able to make one of those for Tim.

What do I do?  Do I get him a gift?  If so what?   Do we celebrate the day knowing it just reminds us that our baby died?  Do I say things like “you’re a great dad,” when he hasn’t gotten to live out his parenting?

I will say, I am so grateful for Tim and his love for our son, it’s just not what we anticipated.  So my heart is broken, more for him that for me on this day.   It all feels confusing, tricky and much more difficult to navigate than any other Father’s Day.

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The power of being their #1 fan

My good friend Melanie has told me since college that she is my #1 fan.  It still makes me smile more than fifteen years later and as a grown woman when she tells me.  And, yes, she still does.  The reason Melanie felt she needed to claim the #1 spot is because there are other people rooting for me as well.  What a blessing that is, to have people who love and care and encourage me.

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Part of the reason I run First Glance is because I have come across countless teens who don’t have a #1 fan.  Actually many don’t have anyone rooting for them.   This is often what our 90 volunteers do.  They love every individual as they walk through the door and become their cheerleader, even when they don’t know they need one or are too cool to admit they do.

I love this video because it clearly articulates what we try to do at First Glance: to be a constant in their lives,  loving them over a long period of time.  Please note this isn’t a First Glance video in any way.  It’s just one that we use to challenge and encourage our volunteers to love the teens unconditionally.

Greif at 6 months

IMG_0158 (1).jpgToday Enoch would be six months old.  I keep thinking, “I should have a six month old.”  I don’t.  That’s hard…  six months later it’s still devastatingly hard.

At this point most people have moved on and have expected me to as well.  If I’m honest, I assumed I would be further along in grief as well.  Not that I would be “over it.” I can’t imagine my heart will ever stop desperately wanting to see or hold my son again.  That will always be there.

I assumed I would be functioning at full capacity again in six months.  I’m not. In addition, grief brain causes me to see all parts of life through the lens of grief.  When your baby dies there’s a whole new perspective, every day, all the time.

  • I still regularly write and think, “my baby died.”
  • When I see a little baby, I still can’t help but think “that’s what a living baby looks like.”
  • My brain can’t seem to hold multiple things in it at one time, as it once did.
  • There are days I still take off work because the grief takes over, and there is no point in attempting to be productive.
  • I’m constantly on guard with movies because picking one that isn’t all about family or doesn’t have the loss of a baby/child in it is much more difficult than you would expect.
  • I still sleep with a pair of his pants on my night stand or in bed with me, even though I know he would have outgrown them by now.
  • Monday’s are hard because as I write my to do list, so many things seem meaningless.
  • I still don’t get into petty arguments with people because in the grand scheme of things, they don’t matter.

Six months later it’s still all at the surface.  Yes, the breathtakingly hard days are further in between one another, but pretty much every activity is looked at through the lens of Enoch dying.

 

“Enoch”

It’s interesting that I have an ‘E’ hanging around my neck and the name Enoch tattooed on my hand because in all reality, had our son been born alive, we wouldn’t have named him that.  We chose his name in the hospital after finding out our baby no longer had a heart beat and that he was in fact a boy.

Tim and I wrestled for pretty much the duration of the pregnancy on what to name our baby if he were a boy.  Tim often told people we were naming him “Tim Beck two,” and I reassured everyone that wasn’t true.  We wanted  a name that had spiritual meaning but wasn’t a biblical persons name.  This is more difficult than you would think.  There are lots for girls in this category: Faith, Grace, Hope, etc.  Not so much when it comes to boys.

As we were striking out with our original guidelines for a name,  we decided to open it up to biblical names of people.  This was the first time Tim recommended the name Enoch.  He liked it because in Genesis 5:24 it says, “Enoch walked faithfully with God; then he was no more, because God took him away.”  Tim liked the idea that he was so faithful to God, that God didn’t even wait for him to die, but took him up to Heaven.  I liked the meaning but didn’t love the name, mainly because I was afraid he would be beaten up on the playground for it.  So, we moved on.

As the days got closer to our little one being born, Tim and I were bound and determined to pick a name.  We included our roommates and set deadlines, but we never came up with one.

On December 8th, we walked into the hospital with a girls name and no boys name, but that was insignificant once we found out there was no heartbeat.  After the ultrasound technician told us that we were in fact having a boy, Tim suggested we name him Enoch.  Suddenly the name made perfect sense, since God didn’t wait for our son before taking him to be with Him in heaven.